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Sunday, 27 November 2011

Shop while you're singing!

Friday 9th December is a special evening in Milford on Sea, and a must for anyone who loves being part of this special community. The village Christmas celebrations start with late night opening in many of the Milford on Sea village shops from 5pm, a great chance to get some Christmas presents and stocking fillers. (Ooo ah Mrs!)

The main event takes place from 6.45pm, when everyone can join in the Community Carol Singing around the Christmas tree on the village green. To give the whole singing extravaganza a bit more twinkle, Milford’s own Total Voice Contemporary Choir and Lymington Town Band will be performing. To ensure everyone is kept entertained and fed, there will also be Santas’ Grotto, Village stalls, Mulled wine, Mince pies, Hot snacks, Nativity scene and more. To delight the kids (& older ones!), at the end of the carols Father Christmas & his little helpers arrives on his sledge.

Before, after, or during, our local pubs and restaurants would all be pleased to see you, and as Milford on Sea is fast becoming a ‘Foodies Mecca’ you would enjoy the visit I am sure.

The evening is all organised by local village volunteers and is in aid of local charities, so please come along. If you have not been before, I can assure you it is quite a magical night, and worth the effort whatever the weather!  It is also a great time to support all of the shopkeepers who keep the centre of our village so vibrant, go on.... buy some Christmas presents in the village this year, and show them you love them!!

In past years there has been Free Parking from 12.00 midday, and we are pleased to confirm that the Parish Council have once again arranged for cars to park free in the Sea Road car park.

Organised by Milford on Sea Village Community Committee.

The Ladies at The Marine

The ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ visited The Marine last week and it sounds like their experience was a very good one.

To explain, the ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ are four women from Hampshire who enjoy great food (and the odd glass of wine or two!). Having met a few of them, they are an extremely nice bunch, and I understand they are occasionally sober. The ladies like nothing more than trying out fantastic restaurants incognito and then sharing their experiences on their website. They do not claim to be either gourmets nor wine experts, they just enjoy sensibly priced good food and superb service. They also assess the quality of the food, the variety of food on offer, the staff and the service, the ambience and the location, and the overall value for money.

On their visit to The Marine they reported that the first impression was being impressed both the Art Deco building and with the views from the upstairs restaurant across to the Isle of Wight and the Needles. They also enjoyed the Wine Cellar lounge. The wine cellar is in the basement, and accessed via a spiral staircase from a glass panel in the floor, a must see for anyone who enjoys a glass of wine, indeed, every home should have one.

The ladies made positive comments about all of the team they met, and in particular Dale, the maître d’ and John, the sommelier. The menus they tried sound quite mouthwatering, and you can read all of the details about the meals they enjoyed on their website. (Link below)

At the end of their visit to The Marine, the ladies were sufficiently impressed to score the total experience at 24 out of 25, which also qualifies them for a LWL Gold Award. They also commented: “Sam Hughes is a very talented chef, all of us thoroughly enjoyed all our choices and everything tasted delicious. The dishes were beautifully presented and generous portions; there were a lot of appreciative sighs around the table! It was a very special lunch and we highly recommend The Marine.”

At the end of their review ‘The Ladies Who Lunch’ concluded: “Milford on Sea is fast becoming the Mecca for foodies!”. I couldn’t agree more!

Over many years of dining across Hampshire ‘The Ladies’ have created a very informative and comprehensive website incorporating hundreds of dining venues across the County. The link to their website is below, and well worth a look.

Foodie Christmas

Do you fancy getting someone else to cook Christmas Day Dinner, or perhaps you are looking for somewhere to go with friends on New Year’s Eve?

If you are, it would be worth taking a look at the online Milford on Sea Calendar, which shows you all that is happening in the village over the yuletide.

Milford on Sea is now a Foodie Heaven by the Sea, what better time to delight the taste buds than Christmas!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Food Week is coming!

Plans are now underway for Milford on Sea Food Week on 9th to 15th April 2012. 

This is a great chance to enjoy the many eating pleasures we have in the village and an excellent opportunity for all of the community to get involved with the many other activities and events during the week.

The entire week’s programme needs to be confirmed before Christmas to enable everything to fall into place. So, if you would like to get involved in running an event, or be a ‘volunteer’ please let me know.

My Dad told me he learned in the army to ‘Never volunteer for anything!’.  This time I think volunteering can be good thing, it is a bit of fun, and you can be part of this great celebration.

If you would like to be involved with Food Week in anyway please drop me an e-mail at:

New Kids Party Venue

A new business venture has started up in the village. Chris Quinn, of Inger Lise’s Coffee Bar in the Keyhaven end of the High Street, has teamed up with Mandy Bran of village cake maker Emsleigh Cakes, to provide children’s parties in Inger Lise’s.

For mum’s that would like a party for their little one’s without the hassle, this could be just the thing!

Inger Lise’s can cater for up to 15 children any evening after 5pm, on Saturdays from 3pm or for exclusive use on Sundays.  The menu  includes a selection of finger food and yummy treats, or you can bring your own.  Chris and Mandy can also arrange all aspects of the party, from a novelty birthday cake, party bags or a children’s entertainer.  The room hire is free when ordering food, or £15 for 2 hours if you bring your own.

To find out more, or to make a booking, please call: Chris on 07961247731 | 01590 643518, or Mandy on 07914 586441

Katie One Step From The O2!

Katie Gates from Milford on Sea, has made it through the Open Mic UK Area Showcase, and she is now just one step away from performing at The O2 in London!

Thousands of acts entered Open Mic UK 2011 and the best unsigned singers from across the country were chosen to perform at the live Regional Final shows. Katie performed in front of a live audience and professional judging panel on 30th October in Aldershot.  She is now set to perform at the Area Final for the chance to progress to the National Grand Final at The O2 in London as part of Live Fest, London’s biggest indoor festival on 21st January 2012.

Katie Gates is a local girl, born & bred in from Milford on Sea (and also daughter of our Village butcher, David Gates from The Butchers Shop).

Good luck Katie, it would be great to have a new recording star from Milford on Sea!

Open Mic UK 2011 is an exciting national talent competition which searches for the UKs best singers, singer/songwriters, rappers and vocalists of all genres who perform either covers or original material.  The overall winner of Open Mic UK 2011 will be offered a recording contract, with up to £30,000 investment! They’ll also have the opportunity to tour across the UK.
Listen to Katie on her Facebook page:

Eat Toad with the RSPCA

The RSPCA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) are holding a Charity Lunch at the Milford on Sea Village Community Centre at 1.00pm on Friday 2nd December 2011.   On reading the lunch menu I was intrigued to see they are serving ‘Toad in the Hole’.  The thought of the RSPCA eating toad did make me giggle immaturely.  I am also curious about the sweet of ‘Mince tart and cream’, I wonder if it is beef or lamb mince?

The event is being organised by local resident Margaret Boyce who has arranged for Patrick Bailey, a local RSPCA Inspector to come and give a short talk on the RSPCA's work.  There will also be a raffle held to raise funds for the RSPCA and a box will be put out for anyone wishing to make a donation of pet food for which the RSPCA is always very grateful.

Everyone is welcome to go along with tickets being available on the door for just £4.50.  I think I may just pop in to find out what toad tastes like!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Deauville Diary – Week Six

The Gallic misadventures of a Milford village idiot abroad.

Friday: Collected our friend, Viv, from the station tonight and then back for a magnificent spread of a dozen or so cheeses, cold meats, pates, dips and of course a few baguettes. As we started planning the next few days, my wife mentioned a stroll along ‘La Planches’. Viv gave a quizzical look. ‘The ironing board?’ she said. Now, what I haven’t mentioned is that Viv is a linguist (A bit like myself), speaking French, German & Spanish. Oh, and she likes a drink. Her confusion was relieved when she suddenly realised ‘Les Planches’ means both ‘Boardwalk’ and ‘Ironing board’. As previously observed, for some reason the French have not bothered to get their own words for some things, (Like: casino, croissant, foie gras or champagne), and then they have also decided it is a good idea some words that are the same, but mean different things.

As the evening progressed we shared a bottle of Bordeaux wine or two, while my wife stuck to her bucket of Bacardi & coke. We decided that tomorrow morning we would visit nearby Lisieux Basilica, which is now the second most important site of pilgrimage in France, after the town of Lourdes. As we continued our cheese-fest a litre bottle of Porto Cruz port was opened. The bottle must have had leak, as within an hour or so it was empty. As the evening drew to a close I rejoiced in being a French citizen, and wondered why things were moving around a bit. As Viv and I started singing the "La Marseillaise" French national anthem, my wife emptied her bucket, and decided it was time for bed.

Saturday: Plans for the early morning visit to Lisieux were postponed as Viv and I were feeling somewhat wobbly. I identified that our instability must have been caused by the blue cheese, my blurry eyed multi-language friend agreed, and we vowed never to eat that particular blue cheese again. My wife, continued to perfect her Gallic shrug and this time added a French sneer. Sometimes my wife has no pity on the weak. A quiet morning followed.

Late morning, the food poisoning was slowly clearing, so we trotted off to the brocante market in the next village along the coast, and then of course to the supermarket for the daily baguette pilgrimage. (And for some more port, as we seem to have run out.) Over lunch, Viv started telling a couple of stories that sounded hazily familiar, my wife subtly said; “Think you told us that last night”. (A d’ja vu moment. There you go, - another one they have no word for!) Suitably embarrassed, Viv tried to recall what she had said last night, ...... with little success.

My wife decided it might be best if she made her maiden drive on French roads this afternoon, (probably wise, due to normal drivers condition), and soon we were on our way to Lisieux Basilica. It proved a worthy visit in spite of the driving rain. The entire interior was decorated in mosaic, but we did not have the time to count how many pieces completed the impressive decoration. On our return, we took in a visit to Chateau du Breuil, a well-known Calvados distillery. I pretended that the free tastings were a surprise, and ordered a glass of the 15 year old apple brandy for all of us. I had of course ‘forgotten’ my wife was driving, so I had to have hers. Then, the biggest shock of the afternoon,.... Viv didn’t like Calvados! To find any drink Viv did not like was of course a new experience for us all. I am not sure who was most surprised, us, or Viv. Only one thing to do, so I had hers as well. I then enjoyed the 12 year old one, and was just starting the 'Fine Calvados' when my wife let me know that I apparently wanted to go home.

Sunday: This morning Honfleur was our first call, yet again another brocante market full of tat and stuffed animals, but the harbour is spectacular. I am now reaching the limits of how much shopping one man can take. Next, our traditional Sunday trip to Trouville Fish Market, this time for crevettes and sole for tonight’s dinner.

Late afternoon our mates, Alistair & Natalie, arrived to join the house party. Alistair celebrated his arrival with half a bottle of bubbly, as he told me about the magnificent firework party he had held for his family the night before. Natalie wondered why there had been no fireworks in France, my wife explained as subtly as she could about Guy Fawkes. Just then, Alistair got a text from Georgia, his ten year old daughter; “Good night dad, just been to really cool firework party, much better than yours. No offence, love you.” Crestfallen would probably be the best description for my bald friend.

Over dinner Alistair easily dismantled two bottles of Sancerre. As the evening got later, Viv got sleepier, Nat and my wife delicately consumed various types of alcohol, whilst Alistair’s face just got redder, voice louder and his stories became more boring than usual.

Monday: My red faced friend was slightly delicate in the morning, claiming to be another victim of the blue cheese food poisoning. So our now perfected guided tour of Deauville started later than expected, and concluded with lunch before Viv had to catch her train for the homeward bound journey. An afternoon of a fish market visit, pastries and hot chocolate followed. Walking this evening, my wife decided it would be funny to guide us through some particular virulent quick sand, where I promptly lost a shoe in the freezing cold water. Alistair’s head resembled a belisha beacon in his hilarity, and I think he was impressed with the compendium of French swear words I had mastered.

As night time fell we were off to Deauville Casino to give them some more of my money, the ornately fashionable O2 bar with Lalique style lamps and changing colour Romanesque busts, provided refreshments as the gaming tables emptied our wallets. Next we moved on to ‘La Flambée' restaurant, and had the finest meal of our emigration, superb. I am enjoying being French!

Spent most of the late evening drinking, whilst participating in a nonsensical debate about black lobsters and enduring fits of Alistair’s trademark maximum decibel laughter. Alistair being a self endorsed marine expert, (having been to Bridlington recently), insisted he had seen three black lobsters at Trouville Fish Market, and embellished his lack of knowledge, by claiming that they stayed black when cooked. I, also being a marine expert, (because I live by the sea in both France & in Milford) said he was wrong on both counts. I was quite confident, not that I knew the facts, but more based on many years’ experience that there was a direct correlation to the correctness of Al’s facts and his level of alcohol consumption. Google revealed that black lobsters do exist, but you only get one in every two million lobsters. Also all lobsters turn red when cooked. The more Alistair drunk the more convinced he was he had seen them, I inquired why other 5,999,997 lobsters weren’t in the market, but he did not have an answer for that one.

My wife and Natalie got bored with the conversation, so talked about handbags and pointless husbands.

Tuesday: A quiet morning meandering around the delightful harbour and medieval streets of Honfleur, followed by a lunch of croque monsieur & frites. It was then time for Alistair & Natalie to leave, and for our ears to return to normal.

Wednesday: Our guests over the past couple of weeks had excelled themselves in emptying bottles for the fledgling French recycling cause, and my wife of course maintained her impressive contribution of Bacardi bottles. So it was a trip to the bottle bank this morning, thankfully we have a large estate car. A very long beach walk with dogs this afternoon. Made it all of the way to Blonville sur Mer and back, surprisingly without the need for oxygen. My wife is most impressed that for the past six weeks I have been resplendent in shorts almost every day. My shapely calf’s have attracted numerous admiring glances from many French women, ..... and a couple of strange men.

Thursday: I got to meet the Mayor today. His mayoral chain looked very impressive as he arrived at the front door of our holiday home, accompanied by twelve gendarmes. His French was not as good as I expected, but he seemed to like my warm greeting of three kisses. After informing me that Deauville was already twinned with Cowes, he handed me an official looking document with a rather impressive embossed coat of arms. I tried to explain that he would love Milford on Sea, as it was full of people like me. For some obscure reason he was unimpressed and I am sure I saw a little tear in his eye. As I read my new friends letter, I explained to my wife that it was offering me the key to the freedom of Deauville, and welcoming me to join the town council as an honorary cultural member My wife un-ceremonially snatched the papers and read out loud; “It actually says you are a public nuisance and you are being immediately deported”. As I left with my new friends, my wife tried to contain her obvious pleasure.

On leaving the custody of my escort party from Deauville, I had a pleasant journey across the channel. When arriving at Calais I thought I better call my wife. She was surprisingly calm, in fact said she had just had the most peaceful day of her holiday.

As we arrived back in Milford on Sea little had changed, in fact little has changed since the 1950’s. I then realised I had a more immediate problem to resolve. My wife was due home tomorrow and I thought it might be a good idea to perhaps go away for a few days, France was of course not an immediate option, so I planned to hide in the hall cupboard.

Friday: My wife returned home, and headed directly to the hall cupboard. After quite a minor beating my head was a tad sore, but things soon returned to normal.

As we wandered along the Milford on Sea beach later that day I looked due south west towards our vacated French home, and I recalled stories of the fun I had had across the water. “We will have to start planning our next emigration soon”; I excitedly exclaimed. My wife just mumbled; “I was thinking more about separate holidays in future.”

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Food Week Goodies for Xmas

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One of our readers dropped us a line saying they would like to give some Food Week Goodies as Christmas presents.  Pretty good idea we think!

We have a Cooks Apron for £6, or a Shopping bag for £5, if you would like both that would be £10.  We also have Mugs for £3.

If you would like to buy any items please drop me an e-mail, saying what you would like and providing your address as well please.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Bistro @ The Marine Party

The Marine on the seafront at Milford on Sea have announced the opening of ‘Bistro @ The Marine’. To celebrate everyone is invited to a ‘Pre-Launch Party’ where you can sample the new concept of high quality, affordable, family dining.

The Pre-Launch Party’ is on Saturday 12th November from 6pm. Everyone is welcome and a warm welcome and a complimentary drink will be waiting for you on arrival. Head Chef, Sam Hughes, will be providing Tasting Platters of a selection of the new meals available on the new Bistro Menu, and will be pleased to discuss any aspect of the Menu, and the inspiration behind it. The normal Bar Service will operate throughout the evening.

Every visitor who attends the pre-launch event this Saturday will be given a ‘Bistro @ The Marine’ Postcard on arrival, entitling you to our Bistro Launch Offer of a ‘Free Glass of Wine or One Free Child’s (under 10 years) meal, including Ice cream dessert, with every adult meal purchased.’ The postcard will be numbered, and a Draw will take place at 8.30pm on the night, and will entitle the winner to a complimentary Meal for Two, including a Bottle of Wine, in The Bistro.

The ‘Bistro @ The Marine’ will officially open on the 16th November and will be open Wednesday to Saturday, serving from 5.00pm to 9.30pm. The Bistro, situated in the ground floor Cafe'-Bar area, offering full table service and serving a range of freshly prepared Mediterranean dishes, including a wide variety of antipasti as well as pizza, pasta, risotto, grilled meats, fresh salads and daily specials.

Wednesday 16th November is also the Launch date of The Marine’s new Winter Set Course, Great Hampshire Winter Menu, which is served in the elegant first floor restaurant. The menu celebrates the best of Hampshire produce, and the ingredients (wherever possible) are sourced from local farms by our local suppliers. The menu features a main course for just £10.50.

A Family Story for Remembrance Day

I am sure that at this time of year many families recall stories of the war years & the part their own families played in the eventual victory. Our family never really had any ‘war stories’, well we didn’t until my brother Peter, did some genealogical research during 2009. Like most families I guess, the war was not discussed when we were children, & the only thing I remember was that my dad’s brother had been a WW2 prisoner of war in an horrific Japanese camp, but he never spoke about it to anyone, ever.

I also knew that my Grandad’s lungs were badly damaged during the first world war, but did not know how. I remember him as a warm & kindly man who lived with us when we were children. In fact our three bedroom home in Kingsbury, North London, housed my Grandad (Horace Hunt), my Nan, Mum & Dad, plus us three kids. He fondly told me great children’s stories as I sat on his knee, with his oxygen cylinder & mask sitting ominously next to him in the living room. He even caught me doing something I shouldn’t have, but kept it a secret from anyone forever.

My other Grandfather, Albert Long, I remember as a stern archetypal Victorian man, in a woollen suit with waistcoat & fob watch. His house was a standard semi-detached in Hendon, North London with an allotment at the bottom of the garden where he spent many hours. He was certainly of a mind that ‘children should be seen & not heard’ & the front parlour was a special treat to visit only on special Sundays. This all seems so far from the days we now live in. Having been born in the mid 1950's, I grew up with the war as being something 'old people' talked about, & in my teens & twenties I was much more interested in girls & pubs!

Sadly, when I eventually became interested in what happened during the two World Wars it was too late to ask many of those I had known that had been there. It was not until I was in my early forties that I took a trip to Ypres & the Belgian World War One Battlefields & Trenches, and the experience was unexpectedly emotional & a disturbing realisation of the scale of the slaughter. In subsequent years my interest in the war years grew, as I tried to understand & make sense of what had happened. It just felt important to know.

A visit to the World War Two D-Day Beaches of France soon followed. If these are trips you have never made, I thoroughly recommend a visit. I cannot say it will be fun, I also cannot guarantee you will not have an involuntary tear or two, but I can guarantee that the sights will put everything into perspective & steel your resolve for such a thing to never happen again. In my view, it should be on the curriculum of every school in the country to visit the battlefields & cemeteries to ensure our children never forget what happened to their own forefathers.

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Back to Peter, (my Brother), a few years ago he gave me a surprise present of two photograph frames with the most amazing contents following his research: each had a sepia photograph, name & rank panel, miniature medals & script on the back. The photographs were pictures of each of my Grandfathers in their military uniforms during WW1. The stories on the back revealed amazing things about two ordinary men during wartime.

My Grandad, Staff Sergeant Horace W Hunt, had been in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps during WW1 as a Mine Sweeper, unfortunately he was involved in an explosion which necessitated his return to Hendon Cottage Hospital, England for treatment for temporary blindness & respiratory problems. During World War Two he served as a corporal in the Southgate Home Guard. Being an engineer he invented an improved loading device for 97 round Lewis Light Machine Gun, which improved the loading efficiency by forty percent, and which he donated to the war effort. Our family now has discovered the original letter from a Major M. A Moir, congratulating him on his ingenuity.

My other Grandfather, Rifleman Albert Long, of the Rifle Brigade was one of the few to return from the atrocious battlefields of Passchendaele, Belgium. During his time in the trenches we were proud to discover that he had been awarded the Military Medal for an individual act of bravery. His Military Medal was awarded on the 18th October 1917. Unfortunately, all records of the exact event were destroyed during the bombing of the Army Records Office in London during World War 2. However, from researching family memories, Peter discovered that Albert had saved a comrade from ‘no man’s land’ during battle. His medals were bequeathed by the family to his Regimental museum, the Royal Green Jackets Museum in Winchester, when he died in 1965 & can still be seen there today.

This personal story may not be read by many, but for those that do read this, I hope it conjures up memories from your own families. Most importantly, now that I have written this story online my Grandfathers will never be forgotten, & like so many other fathers & Grandfathers who sacrificed so much, they never should.


To see how you can pay your respects on Remembrance Day or Remembrance Sunday in Milford on Sea please visit:


If you have your own Remembrance Day please feel free to share them by adding them to the ‘comments’ below:

Milford Banned in China

We heard international news from one of our readers this week. Tom, who is working in China, went to visit, only to find that our website would not open, meaning that it may be on the banned website list.

I think the ban is likely to be because someone considers the contents such ridiculous nonsense that they did not want to submit their people to it.  Quite right too.

I have been banned from plenty of places before, but never anywhere as big as China! I hope this does not mean that Milford on Sea is now banned from receiving Chinese tourists, as they are more than welcome. As is a Chinese takeaway if someone would like open one in the village!

Hurst Castle launch Xmas Card

For the first time, the Friends of Hurst Castle have produced a Christmas card to help raise urgently needed funds for the preservation and enhancement of Castle. Measuring a handy 5in x 5in, the picture has been painted by local artist Shaun Stevens, whose paintings are often displayed at Hurst's Castle Café and shown in local exhibitions including Keyhaven Sea Scout Hut.

The cards are £3.50 for a pack of ten with matching envelopes, and available from Hurst Castle at weekends, and from Gwen's in Milford on Sea village High Street. The message reads "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year".

This great idea will raise a few much needed funds, promote Hurst Castle and give your friends and family a unique greeting this Christmas.

If you would like to lend a hand by selling a few packs of Christmas cards please contact Jonathan:

Jonathan Goodall for the Friends of Hurst Castle
01590 672068
07831 717770

Friday, 4 November 2011

Music Festival Meeting

The initial meeting for the Milford on Sea Arts & Music Festival takes place next Wednesday (9th November) at 6pm at the Community Centre.

If you would like to get involved, or would simply like to know what is going on, please just come along.

For more information please contact: Sean Reeves on 01590 644777 or 07966 449826.

Deauville Diary – Week Five

The Gallic misadventures of a Milford village idiot abroad.

Friday (Evening): Matt & Kayleigh joined my wife & I razor clam hunting on the beach tonight. I of course pretended that this was something I did all of the time. After much screaming and squirming (& and the girls weren’t much better) a catch of several razor clams was made. The technique required quick hands to grab the tubular blighters before they disappeared back into the sand, and quick reflexes to move aside for when they spat at you. Evening catch secured, it was straight back to the kitchen, in the pan with white wine, chorizo & shallots, and we soon had an unusual starter before dinner. We reckon they tasted a bit like squid, but not as chewy.

Saturday: Popped to local Brocante Market in next village, and resisted buying a stuffed ferret & doll with hole in her head. Then we were all off to Deauville’s Wine & Food Festival at the local racecourse. Wine producers were there from every corner of the country, but how you taste them all and still stand up I am not sure, but we gave it a try. The French certainly love to dress up in ornate velour costumes. If anyone produces a regional cheese, sausage, or anything really, they will have a society of some sort with colourful robes, chunky regalia and hand embroidered flags, and where better to dress up than at events such as this. Bought some foie gras pate, only £17 for two tins!, and some macaroon biscuits from a guy who had come from Marseilles at the opposite end of the country. Occasional bouts of homesickness are not unusual for people who have emigrated, but our equilibrium was restored tonight as we tucked into the emergency curry supplies that Matthew had bought with him.

Sunday: Up and off to Trouville Market for the girls to urgently buy some desperately needed boots to go with their twenty or so other pairs. Then we moved on to the Fish Market to treat ourselves to an enormous Turbot for tonight’s dinner. As my wife used her best French to ask for the monster to be trimmed and cleaned, ‘Le monger de fish’ was struggling to understand, much effort later he suddenly gestured and pulled his finger across his throat, calling out; ‘Ah, Marie Antoinette!”. Yep, he had got the message.

Having again had a car pull straight out in front of us from a side turning, Kayleigh noticed how the French drivers take a certain pride in carrying numerous battle scars on their cars. A quick game of ‘I Spy The Dents’ revealed about two in three cars in France have had the pleasure of meeting a fellow driver at close quarters. The undamaged ones were always less than a year old and it was only a matter of time before they joined in the traditional ‘let’s have a crash’ game.

Monday: Matthew discovered one of the new tyres he had bought before coming to France was flatter than the turbot from the night before. A quick inspection revealed a nail in the tyre wall. Not great news, but an expedition to find a new tyre was our next mission. Having conveniently found a ‘Monsieur Le Qwik Fit Fitter’ who spoke no English, we showed him the tyre. After much head & hand waving we established that it could not be repaired. So, our new Gallic friend set about finding us a new one. Tyre successfully sourced, he returned saying: “Mercredi ou Jeudi”. (Ah, ha…. Wednesday or Thursday. Matt & Kayleigh were going home Wednesday afternoon, so Wednesday morning would be fine.) I confidently replied: “Mercredi matin s'il vous plait”. Non,Mercredi ou Jeudi” was my new friends repost. “Oui. Mercredi matin”. Non,Mercredi ou Jeudi”. “Oui. Mercredi matin”. Non,Mercredi ou Jeudi”……..our conversation repeated around twelve times until my tripe eating friend got bored. Out came his iPhone, and using a translator app he showed me the text: ‘Wednesday or Thursday’. “Oui. Mercredi matin” I replied, … again. Back to the iPhone, ‘It will be here Wednesday or Thursday’ the text now read. Ah, it was a statement, not an option. As we said our goodbyes, my new friend tried to resist my kisses, but he was too slow. As we returned to the car, Matthew looked relieved said: “Did you see how much the tyre was?”., “Nope”. “It was 325€, more than twice of the price at home!”. A couple more attempts in vain to find a tyre and then Matthew reluctantly accepted his flash BMW would be travelling home on a silly looking spacesaver wheel.

By this point of course the ladies were bored, so we had to agree to go shopping (again!). One home accessories store and four supermarket visits later, we returned home for lunch, ladened with cases of wine, some housy stuff and assorted French food to continue the Francophile experience.

Tuesday: Yet another sunny day, and the town and beach is teaming with people, as tomorrow is a public holiday for All Saints' Day we reckon everyone has taken a long weekend to get in our way. Hard to believe the amount of people on the beach on a November day. We decided a crepe was in order, but we hadn’t accounted for the slowness of a French queue. Nearly giving up on several occasions, we showed the British stiff upper lip and demonstrated our endurance on behalf of the English people and eventually, (& with a slice of our lives’ missing), we all enjoyed hot crepe wandering along the seafront.

Made it to the casino at last tonight, after two aborted efforts. First time we had forgotten our passports, second time the casino was full of the ladies on slot machines and what looked like a school outing losing pots of daddy’s money on the gaming tables. It seems the young of Deauville use the casino as a meeting place on Sundays, rather than the more popular street corners used by kids in the UK. Ironically, on our third attempt, I wished we had forgotten our passports again, as this time we managed to get on the table and they took all my money. Kayleigh won a few quid though, so she was voted to buy the pizza for dinner!

Wednesday: We were all nearly killed this afternoon. To explain, as we wandered along the town centre pavement, two drivers heading towards each other from different directions decided their cars were insufficiently battle scarred to be truly French. There was an almighty crash, one car mounted the pavement right next to us and we only just escaped being hit by the debris, which included a large lump of alloy wheel. Why Matthew automatically took the stance of a ‘Ninja’ we are still not sure. As we stood with a mouth full of dust from the collision, we waited for the almighty shouting and arm waving session to follow. However, the drivers simply got out, admired the substantial mutual damage, shrugged and started chatting like old friends. Perhaps they were? In circumstances like this there was only one thing to do, act as a true Frenchman like myself would, we went to lunch. Why the profiteroles did not come with a health warning I have no idea. It was literally the first time I have ever had a sweet that was served with a knife, fork and spoon! My wife got a migraine just looking at the chocolate and cream mountain of loveliness. (He, he..... worth every calorie). (See picture) Two hours later it was time to bid Matthew & Kayleigh a bon journeé back to the UK. It had been great having them around for a week, and we were really sad to see them go, thankfully, the skinny spacesaver wheel on the back of Matt’s car did raise an involuntary titter or two to lift my spirits.

Thursday: We were all strolling to the café for a ‘chocolat chaud’ when we past ‘La Mairie’ and I realised that I was still yet to meet the mayor. If he knew I was still in Deauville he would of course be thrilled to meet me, but as yet he did not know I was here. I knew he would be excited about my plans for Milford on Sea to twin with Deauville (and to have a big ceremony when dumping Cowes, their current ‘twin’.) if only I got the chance to explain to him. Before I could even reach to the door of La Mairie I heard a loud clash of metal as the door was firmly shut and bolted. A small voice could be heard calling: “Ferme, la grand anglais porc, ferme”. “Ahh, that’s nice” I said to my wife, “I think the mayor has asked to see me later for tea and some sausage rolls.” She just shrugged and just said something like; “Why me?”

As we once again rode the ‘Boulevard of Death’ back to our house, every turning had the opportunity for a random car to pull straight out to give us the dented bodywork of a traditional French car. Not to be disappointed, out came a white car with no warning straight in front of me. “Right, I’ve had enough, I’m going to stop him and tell him how to drive properly.” My wife just grinned as only she can, and said: “I can’t wait to see this.” “Why?”, “That is a police car” she smirked.

Friday: Early start to the day with yet another long dog walk on the beach. As each tide regresses about 150m, areas of beach are always full of thousands of empty ‘razor clam’ shells, and at low tide local fishermen can be seen catching what we think are either shrimps or mussels with their nets most evenings. Early morning and evening the racehorses train along the surfs edge, sometimes as many as a dozen or more at a time. There are also WW2 bunkers half sunken into the sands at the end of the beach, which must be at least a couple of miles long. The pill boxes are still in some of the gardens of the ornate beach front houses, and have been disguised and decorated to just become part of the landscape.

Another friend, Viv, arriving tonight. As she is a cheese fiend, we were off to the supermarket to restock, plenty of red wine and port would also be necessary. I then had a ‘baguette’ moment, firstly wondering how we ever lived without having at least one baguette every day, and then realised that ‘baguette’ was yet another words the French do not have their own word for.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Scam Warning

We have received the warning below from one of our readers, always worth being aware:

I have today received a call from a company, purporting to be an accredited Microsoft Support Company, explaining that there were currently problems with my computer that Microsoft had asked them to correct – free of charge. This is a scam.

I was surprised to be contacted on my home number as all our professional computer work is done through our office in Lymington on another number, but they were very convincing stating that I was the named Licensee for the computer I was using, even giving my Milford on Sea address.

I played along for a while as they talked me through the process of getting further into my computer. At this point I was able to stop them by saying I would call them back as I had another call coming in.

It is likely that other people in the Milford area will receive such calls. Please warn them about these calls – they are a SCAM. The idea of the scam company is to infiltrate your computer and to download software to help effect the ‘supposed’ repairs. This downloaded software may also contain malware (virouses). Having identified all sorts of problems they will charge you through your credit card for carrying out repairs.

I have reported this call to Action Fraud ( 0300 123 2040 with the name and telephone number of the offending company. Action Fraud will now follow it through. Anyone who has already received a call of this nature should do the same thing. Also contact a reputable computer company to check their computer and remove any problems left as a result of this exercise.

Zozulenka Ukrainian Concert

Have you even seen Ukrainian dancing?, nope, me neither. Well you will get your chance on Saturday the 19th November in All Saints’ Church Hall in Milford on Sea. An ensemble of young people from the Ukraine School of Arts will be giving people an experience of Ukrainian culture through song and dance.  Entry is free and donations are welcome.

The concert by Zozulenka has been organised in conjunction with Hope Now, which is a charity based in Southampton with connections to Milford on Sea. The charities projects for this year include a feeding programme for the poor and a puppet ministry to visit schools and orphanages. Hope Now was founded in 1985 by Vic Jackopson. On his retirement last year, Jon Budgell, who lives in Milford on sea, took over and he will be travelling with the young performers on this UK tour between 11th Nov and 1st December. The members of Zozulenka will be staying with local families in and around the village, so if you bump into any of them why not say “Pryvit”. (Hello)

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Raft Launch Party

Milford on Sea's exciting new Bistro opens its doors for a Launch Party this Friday, 4th November 2011. The Raft will then open fully on the 11th November, when a few finishing touches are completed.

Formerly Belle Epoque Wine Bar, the new venue has now been refurbished and restyled, and Deny & Jan are looking forward to meeting you.

Come along from 6pm to see the transformation that has taken place behind the covered windows over the past few weeks, and please arrrive early to enjoy a complimentary welcome drink and some tasters from the new menu.

Everyone in Milford welcome.

The Raft: 11 High Street, Milford on Sea, SO41 0QF | 01590 645300

Support Our Pre-School

Our local Milford on Sea Pre-School is, as always, looking to raise some much needed funds. On 19th November, 11am to 2pm, they will be holding a Christmas Fair in All Saints’ Church Hall, where they hope to raise funds for up to four balance bikes & helmets.

The Fair will feature 16 local crafts people offering wooden toys, books and pickles, to jewelry, handbags and bath products. The children will also be making various soups using vegetables from our own growing garden and the mum’s will be making lots of yummy cakes for the home cooked refreshments! There will also be children’s workshops, a raffle and an early visit from Father Christmas.

So, if you can find the time, I know they would love your support by going along.